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History of Bhubaneswar

The history of Bhubaneswar is reflective of it's ruling dynasties religious inclinations, whether towards Hinduism, Jainism or Buddhism. The first mention of this historic city as the capital of the ancient kingdom of Kalinga dates back to the fourth century BC. The battle of Kalinga fought between the armies of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka and the Kalinga armies ended with the massacre of over one million people. The victorious Ashoka was distraught at the havoc he had wreaked and embraced Buddhism. The rock edicts at Dhauli, just outside Bhubhaneshwar testified the Emperor’s change of heart and spread the message of the Buddha. Under Jain monarchs of the Chedi dynasty, Jain monks sculpted rock caves at Khandagiri and Udaigiri to be used by Jain munis (monks) as monasteries. Hindu dynasties transformed the city into a temple town with innumerable places of worship.

It was only after the fifth century A.D that Bhubaneswar became a force to reckon with. It became a key centre for Shaivite Hinduism that worships Shiva, the God of Destruction in the Hindu Trinity and Parvati his consort, as Shakti, the all powerful Mother Goddess The Hindu rulers kept the Mughals at bay till the 15th century, but once Bhubaneswar fell to the Mughals, they razed all but the few remaining temples. Later, it passed from the Maratha to the British hands. After independence with Cuttack, the provincial capital bursting at the seams, the Indian Government officially declared Bhubaneswar the new capital of Orissa.

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